By Gisele Arguello and Biyao Ren
An Expert and a Bleach Bottle
By Gisele Arguello
This morning, in Department 14, the Froste trial resumed.
First called up to the witness stand was Special Agent Michael Sabric from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). From the New York’s criminal division, Mr. Sabric came to show plotted out maps of the night of the drug robbery at the KFC on October 17, 2016, made up of cell signals of four of the six suspects. He took time to explain to the court how cell towers work, and how he gets information from Google to locate missing people and locate fugitives during his investigations.
During his direct examination he used the points on the map to show four people, but by only using their emails and phone numbers as a way of identifying them.
Next on the witness stand was Sergeant Gary Hallenbeck of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office. His main tasks are to collect the statements of suspects and witnesses. A tip line was set up after the disappearance of Rios and Moore. A tip was sent in about a Ford F150 truck that belonged to a man who will be called “Frank.” It was said that the truck was used by David Froste, and then surveillance at a car wash showed Mr.Froste bleaching the back of the truck. When Frank was asked about the bleach bottle he first said he did not know anything until Sgt. Hallenbeck said that there might be surveillance that may or may not show otherwise. That got Frank to say that he was drinking a beer at the car wash doing his own thing while David was doing his own thing.
During cross-examination, Hallenbeck was asked if he knew the reputation of Frank. Frank, as described by the officer, was known to drink a lot and Frank told him he may have embellished some things he had said to other people. The evidence taken from the truck was never revealed to Hallenbeck because the evidence was taken by the FBI, so he could not tell the court what was found in the truck.
Jonathan Froste Takes the Stand in Murder Trial
By Biyao Ren
On Thursday afternoon in Department 14, the trial of David Ashley Froste reconvened. The Honorable David Rosenberg presided over the continued examination of Woodland PD Detective Matt Jameson from the morning session. Detective Jameson confirmed the firearm was located in the David Froste’s backyard, an item that had already been entered as an exhibit.
After Det. Jameson, Jonathan Froste was brought to the stand. Mr. Froste, the brother of David Froste and previously a co-defendant in the case, made an agreement with the prosecution to testify as a witness. In his original deal with the district attorney’s office, if the missing bodies were found, J. Froste would plead guilty to second degree murder with a 15-year to life sentence in prison.
J. Froste’s testimony began with October 17, 2016, when David Froste was robbed by one of the victims, Elijah Moore. Mr. Froste recalled that he received a phone call from the defendant, who had been held at gunpoint with a pistol and had lost three ounces of marijuana. The defendant had been very angry and claimed that he would go find Mr. Moore and shoot him up in his house. J. Froste acknowledged that he was aware his brother possessed at least one black Glock, which was identical to the one shown in exhibit.
J. Froste stated that the defendant met up with him, Chandale Shannon, and Jesus Campos in person after the robbery. The next day, in the morning, Mr. Shannon told the defendant about Enrique Rios, a friend of Mr. Moore. The defendant used Mr. Shannon’s phone to contact Mr. Rios and told him to go to a party with them. The defendant and Mr. Shannon picked up Mr. Rios and drove to a place alongside the river in Knights Landing.
After they stopped the car, the defendant took his gun from the trunk and threatened Mr. Rios, insisting he contact Mr. Moore. Mr. Rios refused and attempted to run away. The defendant told his brother that was how he emptied the whole clip to shoot Rios. J. Froste emphasized that shooting Mr. Rios’ lower body prolonged the time until his death. The defendant shot at Mr. Rios’ head to ensure he would die. The defendant then wrapped Mr. Rios’ body and threw him into the trunk. He drove to an undisclosed area and buried him. The witness shared that he did not know where the location was.
The witness would later meet with Mr. Shannon and was informed that he had Mr. Rios’ cellphone. Mr. Shannon admitted to posing as Mr. Rios and asking Mr. Moore to hang out but was refused.
J. Froste further testified that on November 4, 2016, he, David, and Jesus would encounter with Mr. Moore in a plaza. The defendant went to Mr. Moore and forced him to get into the trunk. The defendant told Mr. Moore that they would drive him far away and make him walk back, which would be his punishment. Mr. Moore took off his shoes, gave his money and paycheck totaling $300 to the defendant, and got into the trunk.
With Mr. Moore in the trunk, the defendant directed J. Froste to drive to Mr. Shannon’s house for the gun. The defendant was mad when he found that Mr. Shannon was not at home and attempted to contact him, until Mr. Shannon came out with the gun. With the gun and Mr. Shannon in the car, J. Froste was directed to drive to an isolated area, which was covered by trees. J. Froste emphasized that he had never been there before.
The defendant asked Mr. Shannon to hold the gun and opened the trunk. Mr. Moore was shocked when he saw the firearm. The defendant zip tied Mr. Moore’s arms and started to walk him along a trail. When they stopped, the defendant told Mr. Moore that you are going to buried next to Mr. Rios. Mr. Moore was shocked by the death of Mr. Rios and then he asked to call his mom. The defendant rejected his request and told him to pray before he died.
The defendant went away to get supplies, including gasoline, garbage bags, digging tools, and bleach, and asked the other fellows to watch Mr. Moore by holding the gun. After the defendant came back, he started to strike Mr. Moore with a tree branch. J. Froste testified that the defendant hit Mr. Moore on the head and told him that “your prayers could not save you.” The defendant asked the co-defendants to strike Mr. Moore. After three to four minutes of striking, the defendant lifted a heavy log to smash Mr. Moore’s skull. With Mr. Moore’s skull opened, the defendant shot at his head.
In the dark, the defendant and his fellows dug out a grave for Mr. Moore. When the defendant buried Mr. Moore, he put Mr. Moore into a praying position. J. Froste testified that the defendant and co-defendants lit a fire on the grave for about five to six minutes and they buried it with dirt on the top to lower the fire.
Later, the defendant and co-defendants took off their clothes, drove to a park, and burned everything in a corner of the park. They threw away the digging tools in to the river. After cleaning up and changing clothes at J. Froste’s home, the defendant and co-defendants dined in Denny’s with Mr. Moore’s money. J. Froste claimed that the defendant asked him and the others to remain silent in future searching and investigation.
J. Froste further testified that, after his brother David was arrested, he had visited David. The defendant wrote down notes for J. Froste, asking that he, Mr. Shannon, and Mr. Campos remain silent and search for lawyers. J. Froste explained that writing notes would prevent their conversation being recorded.
However, J. Froste made an agreement with the prosecution. J. Froste would assist in locating the bodies of the deceased victims and, if the bodies were found, J. Froste would plead to a 15-year to life sentence instead of the death penalty. J. Froste believed that this was the right thing to do.
J. Froste claimed that he had located three different places to find the bodies, but he failed them all. J. Froste had sent a “kite,” which is a jail note, to the defendant, looking for the defendant’s assistance. J. Froste believed that the defendant might have better knowledge about the location because he buried the two bodies.
Throughout the examination, Deputy District Attorney Jay Linden multiple times asked for J. Froste’s feelings about his actions. Overall, J. Froste felt remorseful, and he sent a letter of apology to the victims’ family members.
The afternoon session ended up with the direct examination of Jonathan Froste. Deputy Public Defender Martha Sequeira will begin cross-examination of him on Monday, October 29, at 9AM in Department 14.